Story/Art: Hiromu Arakawa
Translation: Amanda Haley
Lettering: Abigail Blackman
What They Say:
Funding continues to be a major obstacle as Hachiken tries to get his business up and running. Ookawa—still unemployed—has pinned all his hopes on Hachiken’s new venture, so when proposal after proposal comes back rejected he suggests a new source of funding: good, honest hard work. Picking up whatever part-time jobs he can, Hachiken pours every ounce of energy into realizing his goal. The year seems to fly by, but when spring comes again, will his efforts finally blossom into reality?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Hachiken’s business is moving along nicely! This manga has been all about how Hachiken doesn’t have direction and doesn’t know what he wants to do in life yet, but this volume has provided a great window into what exactly he can do with a long term goal. I think I said this last volume, but he’s has these short term goals of pizza or whatever else, but this is harder and, well uh this is redundant now, but longer.
I’m quite enjoying this new Hachiken, and in typical Arakawa fashion, she knows how to insert these great moments of levity in between the seriousness and stress of literally making a new company from the ground up. And that’s around helping Mikage study, regular school work, and Equestrian Club work. But moments like Hachiken and Tamako growling over his dad’s repeated denials of his proposal are just so funny in the moment. It helps that Hachiken has the best reactions and expressions in manga.
The inclusion of Ookawa as the president of Hachiken’s new company has also been a masterclass of character work by Arakawa. In this simple, if unexpected, move, it gives an out to the harder or more random tasks (like building a pig pen) without really having to explain anything further, and gives a great foil to Hachiken’s emotional output. It also shows a more insidious side to Hachiken, though I expect that’s more played to comedy than to Hachiken’s true character. There’s a moment when Mikage asks whether he can earn more money anywhere else with all these certifications he’s getting as a result of helping Hachiken’s company off the ground, and Hachiken shushes her. I doubt he doesn’t want Ookawa to succeed, but he sure appreciates the help of an old friend.
The building blocks to Hachiken’s company, of course, includes pigs, which are being housed at Mikage’s ranch. They’re using the parts where the horses were, and Mikage’s family is renting out some of Komaba’s ranch for extra cow grazing. This whole paragraph to say that Arakawa is creating these interconnected relationships between these key characters, after Komaba was largely written off after having to drop out of school. And I like that kind of forethought, or improvising. Whatever is appropriate.
Silver Spoon only has three more volumes after this, and I’m gonna be really sad when it ends. It feels like some sort of Arakawa manga has always been out in English for me to read new content, besides those dark days between Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon. But still! The stories of Hachiken going from listless city kid who knew nothing of farming or anything to this dude who wants to create a business to help farmers has been an amazing journey. This particular volume is filled with all the same notes that I’ve always loved Silver Spoon for, and it looks like we’re barreling toward a satisfying resolution.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 24, 2019